Manchester United legend Roy Keane saluted Marcus Rashford for proving he has the character to be the team’s main man, but Gary Neville now wants him to replicate his form season after season.
Rashford is enjoying a phenomenal campaign, with his 25 goals across all competitions prior to Sunday’s trip to Liverpool already his best return for a single season.
There appeared to be doubts about Rashford’s long-term future at United after a hugely underwhelming 2021-22 season, but he has had a new lease of life since Erik ten Hag’s arrival.
He showed real promise before the World Cup, but it is since his return from Qatar that Rashford’s form has reached new heights, scoring 10 goals in his previous 10 league games ahead of Sunday.
That haul includes a run of five successive goalscoring appearances, with the England international giving United a clinical touch in attack – his 25 goals have come from just 16.5 xG (expected goals).
Keane acknowledged he had reservations about Rashford in that regard, but the 25-year-old is emphatically proving him wrong.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Keane said: “He’s in great form and what’s been surprising in the last few months is, I wasn’t sure if Marcus had that personality to want to be the main man, but he has, particularly with [Cristiano] Ronaldo leaving and [Anthony] Martial injured, he has definitely taken that responsibility.
“His goals, the type of goals he’s getting: he’s scored a couple of headers recently. I never knew he had that in his locker.
“We know obviously about his pace, his skill when beating people, but I think he’s enjoying the responsibility. He’s in the form of his life, he seems fit, he seems mentally clear, he’s focusing more on his football now.
“There were question marks over the past few years about whether he was distracted, a lot of people hanging on to him. Now it looks like football is his priority and he’s getting the rewards.”
However, Neville – another former United captain – feels Rashford now has to ensure this season is not just a flash in the pan.
Twice before he has broken the 20-goal mark in a single season but been unable to maintain that level, whereas one of his opponents on Sunday – Liverpool’s Salah – has done so in all six of his campaigns with the Reds.
Such ability has inspired Liverpool to success in the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and the Champions League.
“I think Marcus can look at Salah,” Neville added. “What Marcus has done this season is fantastic, but Salah’s been doing that for six or seven seasons, winning Premier League titles, Champions League trophies.
“He’s reliable and consistent, and that’s where Marcus now is building that sort of feeling and momentum in his game, but he’s got to do it for the next three, four, five seasons and take Manchester United to those titles that Salah has at Liverpool.”
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